Reconciling a Client’s Vision

Creating and developing new ideas and making them a reality is incredibly hard but absolutely worth it. In the video production industry minding, that transition is what we do every day. Helping people bring their ideas to life is what we specialize in and sometimes those ideas can go through several iterations before arriving at the final product. 

Metro Fire came to us with a need to create an engaging video series of instructional fire safety videos for kids k-6. They included reference materials that were simple and to the point but lacked creative inspiration and a voice to speak directly to children. We could have just copied and pasted the ideas and made a very simple video but, that isn’t what we did. Steve and Rick saw this as an opportunity to create much more polished and engaging content rather than the examples provided. After a quick creative meeting with the Legion Team, we decided that a Netflix-style children’s tv show may be an exciting and appealing way to really talk to the target audience. We felt the most effective way to get important information to kids was to talk to them at their level through a peer. So we committed ourselves to casting a child actor to speak to the k-6th grade audience about the dangers of fire to create more engagement with the audience since they themselves are of similar age. When Metro Fire heard our ideas and understood the commitment that we were making to their project, they were just as excited as we were to get the ball rolling. 

Their Reference Pic

Our Reference Pic

What we would pitch soon after was a mini tv series made for children focused on conversational and friendly demeanor rather than an informative approach. Instead of having an adult speaking to them on fire safety, we decided that we would create a conversation between a young safety cadet and Metro Fire’s very own, Captain Parker and Firefighter Juan. Together they would converse on several topics in fire safety and how to best approach them. This was Metro Fire’s first project of this kind and they put an incredible level of trust in us to steer the creative direction in efforts to provide more value to this project. 

The Pitch

The mini tv series would be starring Metro Fire’s very own Captain Parker, Firefighter Juan, and a child named Freddi, a young safety cadet. Freddi would be having conversations about several key topics about fire safety with Captain Parker while FireFighter Juan would be helping to show fire fighting equipment and safety attire. Together, the three would educate children on all aspects of fire safety from “Why we use smoke alarms”, “How to make a fire escape plan”, to a tour of the firehouse. Metro Fire loved the idea and gave it the green light to start producing the television series. Unlike most projects of this level, we had an extremely condensed timeline of just two weeks to go from the green light to our first shoot day.

The Process 

The day we got the greenlight we started to build the set which had to emulate what a 8-10 year old’s room would look like if they were a safety cadet. After a weekend worth of cutting, scraping, and painting we were able to produce an entire Kids room within our studio.The set we built consisted of two walls and an entryway furnished with carpet, a bed, and plenty of smaller details that would be in children’s bedrooms. Everything from wall art to Perk the plush fire dog (the name a subtle reference to Frances Perkins, a trailblazer in public and fire safety from the early 1900’s) was thematically chosen in line of what this project entailed and who it was intended for, young kids learning about fire safety. The room we built was not the only thing tailored for such an audience. 

The Script

The script we wrote had to not only convey fire safety to a young audience but also had to be simplified to retain attention and engagement and repeated to ensure it was absorbed. Our scriptwriter, Hannah Globus, did a fantastic job of creating a script that would not only convey fire safety to a young audience but also create the narrative of an enthusiastic kid who was aspiring to be a firefighter. The language used was kept simplistic so that any words that were too complicated or complex were weeded out to begin in efforts to retain as much attention as possible throughout the entire tv series. Additionally, the script was written to be conversational between Freddi and Captain Parker. The young audience could identify with Freddi as kids and that way Captain Parker would almost be talking directly to them entirely. In doing this we are able to create a much more engaging set of fire safety videos catering to a young audience. 

Time was of the essence with this project with a total of 14 days to get from concept to execution. For many companies, this might not have been achievable. With the diverse skill sets that we have across our in-house team we were able to design and build the sets, source the props, quickly bring in the writing team, cast the talent, Direct the production, and handle all edits and graphics. We accomplished everything in an expedited amount of time and while keeping the client up to date and at a comfortable level of involvement. Our client trusted us through the process to a level that they felt comfortable allowing us to steer the creative direction of this program from the ground up. With all the moving parts of a production this complex there are many opportunities for one delay to snowball but we were able to meet our deadlines and exceed them in many instances. Each step was executed all in the Legion Films coalition. 

Final Results 

When Metro Fire was presented with the final product, six episodes and 4 fire safety worksheets that would be handed out to the kids with the videos they were ecstatic.  Brenda, our contact at metro fire said that we made the process easy and that she trusted our vision from the beginning. “Thank you all for your hard work!  It has been a pleasure working with each of you!” (Brenda Briggs, Metro Fire). The final result was a modern Netflix-style kids tv show with music, animations, sound fx, and of course our super special fire safety show host Samara Williams as Freddi.